OCTOBER 7, 2016
Vettel surprised by Sepang crash reaction
Sebastian Vettel says he was "surprised" by the reaction of fellow drivers and the media following his performance in Malaysia a week ago.
Track rivals including Max Verstappen and Nico Rosberg, and the Italian press, reacted angrily to the first-corner crash at Sepang that cost Ferrari's lead driver a grid penalty at Suzuka this weekend.
"I did not drive like 'crazy'," Vettel insisted in Japan when asked about Verstappen's criticism.
"I took a risk that did not pay off. I'm sorry for Nico and after the race I went to him to explain.
"I'm a little surprised if people say they never saw me like this. I have attacked many times at the start before and I did well most of the time," he added.
"The last time was one of those times when it doesn't work. I don't think there is much to analyse -- it's normal, it happens.
"Sometimes you try too hard and sometimes you don't try hard enough, so it's a matter of finding the right balance between the two," Vettel said.
Vettel said he was sorry the crash tipped Rosberg into a spin, but thinks the grid penalty for Suzuka is "hard".
"I am not of the opinion that I did something stupid," he said. "It was a small mistake which was punished very hard."
Vettel also denied he is losing heart with the situation at Ferrari, insisting he has a "good feeling" about the Maranello team's prospects for 2017.
"A lot is happening behind the scenes at Ferrari, and that will show in the coming season," he said.
"Of course, we are not satisfied with what our performance has been so far, and if we could change it in a day we would. But I still think it was a good season if you look at what happens behind the scenes."